The trend towards renting rather than owning is picking up pace in all aspects of life, more often becoming a lifestyle choice rather than a forced need. Whether it’s tech, homes, cars, getting your hands on something you want and need without the burden of long term ownership, commitment and debt is becoming increasingly attractive.
Business services are no different. Whether it’s rapid growth, or market uncertainty that’s fuelling concern about resource and headcount, having reliable, knowledgeable staff you can flex according to demand is increasingly becoming an attractive and viable choice.
In IT it's a no-brainer. Many of our channel customers offer out their own services to their enterprise customers, so they get the principle and know it works. They’ve also seen the value in us owning and managing their inside sales function to achieve great results, so why not Marketing?
No matter what size the organisation, hiring is by no means the ‘ideal’ scenario for all businesses and getting the right person at the wrong time can be costly and counter-productive.
Here’s some of our thoughts and insights
1. Use Marketing as a Service to plug skills gaps and/or work alongside existing resource
If you’re a small, growing business then the likelihood is one of the management team is nominally responsible for marketing. However, the reality is – especially if that person is customer facing –attention to detail can take a back seat and you’re not going to see the full value of marketing delivering proper return on investment.
If you do have a team – how stretched are they and where are they located? You may not need someone else full time, but need an extra pair of hands at times of peak loads or to represent you in region to act as part of your extended team.
Perhaps you need specialist help from time to time that doesn’t warrant extra headcount – such as systems support (automation platforms), content writing, campaign development, lead nurture programmes, strategic thinking/planning, brand development, PR, the list is endless.
2. We’re part of your extended team – not an agency
Yes, there are plenty of body shops out there who specialise in individual aspects of the marketing mix – PR, Digital Marketing, Brand, Web Design, Copywriting, Events Management, Product Launches, Consultancy and so on, but we know from experience they rarely properly integrate with the business and offer a project-based “hands-off” approach.
Our dedicated Virtual Marketing Managers (VMM) offer a single point of contact taking ownership for project advice, planning, execution and deliverables, whilst calling on the resources of a “back office” team for support when needed, all for a fixed monthly fee based on what’s needed.
Great results are attained because the VMM fully integrates with the client’s team so they think/behave as if they’re employed headcount. There’s no skillset gaps because there’s a whole team of support that can be turned up and down on demand.
3. Savvy budgeting - pay only for what you need
What you’re paying for is skills, expertise and experience for a fixed monthly fee. This can be as little as a day a week, or full-time hours. You get the benefit of combining what you’d pay in annual salary with any marketing budget you allocate to growing sales to get a bigger bang for your bucks with a plan geared to deliver results.
What you won’t be paying for are
• Recruitment fees
• Overheads: Office space, IT equipment, HR services
• Salary + Benefits packages
• Sick leave/annual leave/maternity or paternity leave/bank holidays
• Slow times such as Christmas and Summer breaks – just scale it back if needed
4. IT Channel Expertise
Engage an agency who needs an extensive brief or hand-holding and you open yourself up to a world of pain, not to mention lackluster results. We know the IT Channel inside out having worked with multiple vendor technologies, in the distribution space, and in reseller environments.
We understand your tech. We understand your challenges. We’ll also discover quickly what is and isn’t working with your current marketing set up and put in place a plan that will use marketing to grow sales.
5. We’ll do what we say we’ll do
Just like your sales team, we know that we’re only as good as our last job. The relationships we form become our new clients in the future. If we don’t perform or leave our client with a sense of disappointment, then word gets around pretty fast and we damage our chances of future work.
6. We work from home and/or your office
We’re entirely flexible about where we work and regularly do both for clients. If you’re a small business and don’t have space, we can work from home and meet you regularly. Or, if you do, then we are happy to work from the office and get to know your team better. We also regularly work with offshore head office teams with limited regional resource and become an extension of their team.
7. We don’t moan, or do office politics
This may seem like a minor point, but is a huge relief to a lot of our clients. Work is tough enough as it is without water-cooler politics. Our clients appreciate our positive attitude and can-do spirit which helps them achieve their goals.
8. We’ll help you test and experiment
If you think that ultimately you want internal resource, we can help you find the level at which to recruit. Do you need a strategist, or a hands-on individual? Do you need someone detailed and methodical, or someone who can juggle many balls at the same time? By working with us, even for a short period, it can help you see the wood from the trees and make the right choice.
9. If we don’t think we can do it, we’ll say
If we don’t feel we have the experience you need, then we won’t take the assignment. If we think we have a contact better suited to the role, then we’d rather offer them than do a bad job for you. However, we have very talented individuals that can turn their hands to pretty much any marketing task and get you the results you need.